Here's why Colby Covington is not deserving of the next welterweight title shot

UFC 272: Spivak v Hardy
UFC 272: Spivak v Hardy / David Becker/GettyImages

Colby Covington shouldn't be fighting for the title next, no matter what Dana White says.

UFC 286 saw Leon Edwards put on a strong performance to win a majority decision over Kamaru Usman, bringing their trilogy to a close with a 2-1 record.

“Who’s next” is the question that always comes up when champions defend their title, and UFC president Dana White made it clear that Colby Covington is the next man up. However, Covington’s insertion into this position raises many eyebrows because he hasn’t done much to earn a shot in the ever-evolving 170-pound division.

The questions around whether Covington is the right man for this position come quickly and easily. He was last seen at UFC 272 in March 2022 where he needed five rounds to win a decision victory over Jorge Masvidal. In his last four fights, his record is 2-2, including dropping two fights to Usman when he held the 170-pound title.

But taking a further look at Covington’s record shows an even further gap in accolades. He lacks a win over anyone that is ranked in the top 10. In fact, the last time he defeated someone who was on a win streak at the time was his 2018 victory over Rafael dos Anjos, a former lightweight champion that moved up a weight class. That’s a glaring issue.

Colby Covington gets an easy path compared to his peers

Compare it to Edwards' streak. His last loss came in December 2015, when he was defeated by Usman as he was starting his surge toward the title. Since then, Edwards has picked up 11 wins and a no-contest against Belal Muhammad. Quite the contrast in resumes.

The top 10 in the welterweight division includes a force of talented competitors, none of which Covington has shown any interest in fighting. With individuals like Khamzat Chimaev, Shavkat Rakhmonov, Geoff Neal, and Sean Brady lurking in the wings, that is an understandable stance to take.

Covington is a perfect example of what makes the UFC more sports entertainment, than sports promotion. He’s a caricature that says whatever is needed to create headlines, and the viral, shock-value nature of the sport and its coverage feeds into that.

Will he say some things that will generate more interest in this fight than some of those others named? Perhaps. Does that mean the UFC will make more money by slotting him into this position? Most likely. But does that make him more deserving when the facts of performance are compared? Absolutely not.

Covington is a valued member of the UFC roster that plays a role perfectly for the company. His inclusion in the welterweight title picture should not surprise anyone, nor should White’s firm stance that he’s the top guy in line. Covington isn’t deserving of this fight in any way, but this is par for the course when it comes to UFC matchmaking.

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